Gatwick may not be the new Dallas after all.
Reports that an oil minnow may have discovered up to 100bn barrels of oil near the UK airport sent its shares soaring last week and prompted criticism from environmentalists.
Stephen Sanderson, chief executive of the explorer UK Oil and Gas Investments (UKOG) said: “Based on what we’ve found here, we’re looking at between 50 and 100bn barrels of oil in place in the ground. We believe we can recover between 5% and 15% of the oil in the ground, which by 2030 could mean that we produce 10% to 30% of the UK’s oil demand from within the Weald area.”
But there was already some scepticism at those figures, with some pointing out that 100bn was roughly equivalent to Kuwait’s proven reserves and more than Britain has extracted from the North Sea.
Now the company has rowed back from the initial optimistic forecasts, with the 100bn figure now appearing to be an estimate of the whole area and not just its own licences, a figure which it now says it is not in a positive to verify. In a “clarification” it said the Horse Hill well had total oil in place of 158m barrels per square mile, adding:
The Horse Hill licences cover 55 square miles of Weald Basin....It is estimated that the relevant Jurassic section of the Weald Basin is approximately 1,100 square miles.
The company has not undertaken work outside of its licence areas sufficient to comment on the possible oil in place in either the approximate 1,100 square miles or the whole of the Weald Basin.
Its shares initially fell 18% but are now down 2% at 2.25p.
This article was written by Nick Fletcher, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 15th April 2015 09.58 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010